NYPD officers responding to an incident involving an emotionally disturbed individual barricaded in an apartment in Upper Manhattan fatally shot a naked 28 year-old man after he charged at them with a butcher knife.
The tragic incident unfolded this past Tuesday evening when Hawa Bah, 56, called 9-1-1 to the family’s fifth-floor apartment at 113 Morningside Avenue near West 124th Street in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan.
She was concerned for her son, Mohammed Bah, 28, because he had refused to open the door to his bedroom.
Hawa Bah told 9-1-1 dispatchers that her son was suffering from depression and wanted police to take him to the hospital for psychiatric care.
Two patrol officers arrived at the apartment shortly before 7 p.m. and attempted to talk Bah out of his room when he suddenly opened the door naked with a 13-inch butcher knife in his hand.
The officers quickly slammed the door shut for their own safety and evacuated the apartment with Hawa Bah. Once they were safely outside of the apartment, the officers radioed dispatchers for assistance in handling a barricaded emotionally disturbed person.
Dozens of officers from throughout Upper Manhattan responded to the scene, along with the Emergency Service Unit (ESU) and the Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT).
Concerned for her son’s safety and realizing the seriousness of the situation and the potential for tragedy, Hawa Bah, pleaded with police to exercise restraint and offered to assist in negotiations but was rebuffed by officers.
As HNT attempted to contact the barricaded Bah and establish a dialogue, a team of six ESU officers, outfitted with heavy body armor, attempting to get a visual layout of the room inserted a fiber-optic camera underneath the door.
Bah attempted to grab the camera and then surprised the officers by suddenly throwing open the door to his room.
An enraged Bah came charging out of the room and towards the officers with butcher knife in hand.
DNAinfo.com informs that the six officers ordered Bah to drop his weapon before employing a host of non-lethal measures against him. Officers tasered him twice and fired a gun that struck him with several rubber bullets. However, none of it even slowed the emotionally disturbed man who actually got close enough to the officers to make physical contact with the knife.
Bah slashed the bulletproof vest of one officer and stabbed a first aid kit attached to the vest of another officer, puncturing a hole in it.
It was at that point the officers drew their firearms and discharged several shots of live ammunition into the knife-wielding man.
Bah was rushed to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The New York Daily News reports that one of the ESU officers attacked by Bah was treated for a stab wound to his left arm at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The NYPD has deemed the shooting to be justified. However, the family strongly disagrees with the police department’s findings and has even condemned the shooting as the killing of an innocent man.
Hawa Bah expressed her grief in comments made to DNAinfo.com after the incident
“Why did they kill him? They killed him for nothing. They killed an innocent person for nothing."
She further said
"They said they'd handle it themselves, but they shot him. There was no reason to shoot him."
Bah, a cab driver and former student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, would have celebrated his 29th birthday this week. Hawa Bah had traveled to New York from her native Guinea to celebrate her son’s birthday.